This research was built on the themes of authentic leadership and social entrepreneurship. Walumbwa, Avolio, Gardner, Wernsing and Peterson (2008), defined authentic leadership as Òa pattern of leader behaviour drawing upon and promoting both positive psychological capacities and a positive ethical climate, to enable greater self-awareness, an internalised moral perspective, balanced processing of information, and relational transparency on the part of leaders working with followers, fostering positive self-developmentÓ. On the other hand, Ebrahim, Battilana and Mair (2014) claimed that the primary objective for social enterprises (SEs) is to provide social value to their benefactors, and that they rely on revenue from a commercial source instead of aid funds to sustain the business and to grow. SEs are thus hybrid organisations with dual missions of purpose and profit. Walumbwa et al. (2008) then claimed that the concept of authentic leadership due to its nature was relevant to social entrepreneurship research because social entrepreneurs also have to do with the well-being of others.
The purpose of this research is to investigate the perceptions of authentic leadership within SEs. It is mainly concerned with the leaderÕs perceptions of authentic leadership, followerÕs perceptions and understanding the similarities and the differences of these perceptions. The methodology utilised was a case study design and a qualitative approach was applied. The study was exploratory in nature at a cross-sectional period in time. Four companies situated in Johannesburg, South Africa participated in this study. Semi-structured interviews were done on 15 sampled individuals including four leaders and their followers.
This research concluded that all the leaders in this study perceived themselves as authentic leaders to varying degrees. They differed from the definitions of authentic leadership on two points; firstly, these Authentic Social Enterprise leaders did not always convey true opinions and motives. Secondly, these leaders perceived themselves to be true to both their values and the values of their organisations. The followers perceived their leaders more authentically than the leaders perceived themselves. This study also proposes an Authentic Social Enterprise Leadership Model conceptualised as a merger of concepts from the definition provided in the literature of authentic leadership and the results of this study. Conclusions made in this study unearth the existence of authentic leadership in SEs and discusses the relevance to the business society. A call for research on authentic leadership in SEs is then provided.
Mini Dissertation (MBA)--University of Pretoria, 2018.